By: DAISY SAMPSON
THERE HAS long been a connection between the world of aviation and bicycles.
The Wright brothers were famous bicycle manufacturers before they became immortalised by inventing the first aeroplane, and it is in the spirit of the Wright Brothers that the trans-USA challenge is being held.
Algarve resident Gerry Breen, known internationally as the father of the microlight, will be racing on a bicycle across the US next year on a 3,000 mile journey against his friend Paul Mahony, who will be travelling via paraglider.
“This is a classic crazy wager that the English do best and we are keeping the tradition alive with the trans-USA challenge,” said Gerry Breen.
Gerry Breen explained the concept of the challenge. He told The Resident: “I can imagine the Wright Brothers themselves undertaking this challenge, one on a bicycle and the other in the air, testing the technology.”
Although both Paul and Gerry will be using utilising the latest technology in their journey the essence of the Wright Brothers will not be lost.
Gerry said: “My bike has many gadgets to help me on my journey but basically both the bike and the paraglider are the most basic forms of air and road travel technology.”
This week Gerry has begun his preparation and training by travelling between his home town of Lagos and Stanwick Fort, Carlisle, cycling across part of the former Roman Empire.
“I had really wanted to keep the whole thing very low key but last week we started to ask for sponsorship and it has just mushroomed since then.
“I suppose I will have to complete it now!”
The training leg to Carlisle is 1,500 miles, which Gerry hopes to complete in 20 days.
“The doctor has given me a clean bill of health so there is no physical reason why I shouldn’t be able to do this, although the doctor did question my mental health!” said Gerry.
“When the idea of raising money for charity came up I thought it would be great if the money people pledge could be used to buy Christmas presents for the local childrens orphanage. We already have several hundred euros pledged and that has been in the last week alone.”
To keep up to date on Gerry’s progress, or to pledge money for his journey, please visit www.trans-usachallenge.com